Track History

Old postcard from Hazel Park Raceway Hazel Park Raceway is located in southeastern Michigan, just north of Detroit. The facility was first developed as an auto race track in 1948 but the auto track went bankrupt before it opened its doors and some local businessmen bought the property to build a horse race track. Because the foundation for the auto track was already in place, the new owners simply built the horse race track over the top of it. The auto race track was 5/8 of a mile in distance. Thoroughbred race track are typically 1 mile in distance and harness tracks are typically 1/2 mile so 5/8 of a mile was a unique distance earning us the title of "The Pioneer Track." Old Hazel Park grandstandThe first harness meet was held in the Spring of 1953. The track was a dual-breed facility from 1949 through 1984. Hazel Park Raceway raced a dual meet (harness and thoroughbred) from 1949 through 1986, then exclusively hosted harness racing from 1985-2013. In 1986 Hazel Park Raceway was designated one of two tracks (us and Northville Downs) in the metro Detroit area to race exclusively harness races. Detroit Race Course (DRC) was designated the thoroughbred track in the Detroit area. This continued until 2014 when Hazel Park Raceway converted to thoroughbred racing. The conversion cost about $300,000 between the track itself and modifications needed in the backstretch. The track's record for live handle and attendance occurred on July 12, 1975 when 15,372 patrons wagered $1,425,478. The record $2.00 payoff at any harness track was recorded at Hazel Park on September 17, 1988 when the "Twin-Super" wager (selecting in exact order, the first four finishers in two races) paid $1,243,053. In 1996, state legislation permitted full-card Simulcasting enabling the track to virtually be open for business year round seven days a week, noon till midnight. Now, in addition to the outstanding live racing, patrons may view and wager on all major harness and thoroughbred tracks across the country. The Triple Crown, Breeder's Cup and Breeder's Crown, Little Brown Jug and The Hambletonian are all now standard fare. On Saturday May 3 2008 Hazel Park attracted over 14,000 race fans to wager and watch the Kentucky Derby via simulcast. The track's nightly overnight events have an industry-wide reputation as being some of the most competitive racing to be found anywhere. Racing at Hazel Park has always been considered among the nation's finest. The Bridge Lounge Several recent improvements have been added for customer and horsemen convenience including: a passing lane, a casual park-setting picnic area, several banks of 42" plasma TVs, the very popular Top of the Park Grill, the Bridge Lounge, & the Homestretch Bar. Action on the Apron on Friday nights and other special discounts continue to attract new fans to our recently constructed, state of the art Grandstand area. The return of thoroughbred racing to Hazel Park Raceway has been a tremendous success and horse race fans in the Detroit area have welcomed it back with great enthusiasm.